Heather knows that she has a reputation, the kind of reputation that has all the girls turning up their noses at her the kind that makes all the boys look at her twice. It was purposeful, of course. It was better to let boys feel her up and to sleep with a few of them and every one know about it than for people to know about her and the only person who knows about her is Johnathan Byers, that had been by pure accident and was only because he’d caught her between some woman’s legs, head under her skirt in some gross bar bathroom two towns over.
He doesn’t judge her, which is nice though there had been a moment when she was worried he might tell Wheeler about her but he hadn’t and Heather had seen him at O’Rileys the weekend after he’d gotten together with Wheeler, alone waiting for Heather at the bar with a beer after Heater had given him the silent treatment and had avoided him just in case.
“Is this a peace offering?” She had taken the beer and hopped onto the stool beside him, holding the neck of the bottle tightly enough to crack the glass.
“No? Did we have a fight?” He took a long pull from his bottle, and rolled his eyes. “You’ve been antsy for a week and avoiding me. Is it Nancy? Are you jealous?”
“Please…she’s too uptight for my tastes.” She gave him a shove and then everything felt normal.
At school they don’t talk, an unspoken agreement between them Johnathan is the quiet weird guy in school while Heather holds the crowning title of school slut, their paths do not purposefully cross, they don’t spare glances, they dont talk in the hallways. Somehow it seemed better that way rather than admit that they were friends who liked to hang out in gay dive bars on the weekends whenever their schedules aligned and when they couldnt Heather would find herself in the house in the woods laying about Johnathan’s room and pretending like she doesn’t understand his music. He’s hilarious when he gets defensive.
Everything was going perfectly for Heather until she came face to face with Billy Hargrove, manswoman extraordinaire, who had his head under every skirt that passed him. He’d given Heather the look and she played her part, she’d giggled sweetly, batting her lashes, she’d toyed with his hair and would lightly run her fingers on his exposed chest.
She kept her eyes shut when he fucked her, head thrown back and imagined that she was somewhere else as she moaned loudly against the bathroom door he pinned her against. She could hear the party beyond the door, she could head the whispering on the other side, someone pressing their ears to the wood and laughing.
“That was great sweetheart. Maybe I’ll see ya around.” He said, eyes on her forehead rather that on her eyes, wiping off his dick while she cleaned herself off, not focusing on her. He sounded like Heather.
“Yeah. Maybe.” She blew him a kiss, she always blew them kisses when it was done, she fixed her skirt and walked straight out the bathroom, winking at a few guys leaning against the wall on either side of the door.
“Who was it tonight?” Johnathan pulls Heather in through his window, his voice a low whisper. “You look wrecked.”
“I feel wrecked. Jesus. What is it with you guys? Never hear of forplay?”
“Not all guys.” He eases his window shut. “Mom just went to bed and Will’s at a friends. Bathrooms free we’ve got clean towels in there.”
“Thanks.” She says pulling off her heels. “I don’t know why I do it.”
“Thats my line.” He bops her on the nose. “So who was he?”
“Hargrove.” She mumbles. “He’s been after me since he transferred and I figured might as well.”
“Tell me about it.”
She doesn’t have to do it as often as she does, she knows that. Sometimes Heather thinks about how it all started and could kick herself for it but it had been more of a defensive maneuver more than anything else. After her brother had caught her with Trisha Lee back in the eight grade and told her parents Heather-
She only told Johnathan the story and she’d been really drunk when it happened, sitting in the front seat while his little brother sat in the back with his Walkmen totally, immersed in whatever cassette Johnathan had brought for him. It wasn’t a nice story, she’d said, woozily as he drove and Johnathan had remained silent and just listened in that special way he did, the air heavy between them.
Trisha, was beautiful, thats what Heather remembers about her, she’d been seventeen and tall for her age and Heather had been so in love with her than even when she thinks about her now her heart aches. She remembers that first month of summer spent with Trisha when Heather had been fourteen. Nights spent camping in the woods, the tent warm as they cuddled and kissed, fingers laced, the vevetly smoothness of Trisha’s tongue in her mouth, on her neck and between her legs. It had been a terrifying moment the first time, Heather too preoccupied with what went where, smells and tastes but the feeling had been electric. Trisha had set her on fire.
When Heather’s brother Jaime had caught them together in Heather’s basement it had been bad, the shouting, the violence. Jaime had grabbed Heather and yanked her back so hard that she thought she her shoulder might pop out of place, he’d pushed Trisha out of the house and down the driveway, shouting, causing her to fall and scrape her knee. Everyone in the neighborhood that had been out had heard him calling Trisha a dyke and accusing her of feeling up his innocent little sister. Heather had been mortified for Trisha who had looked back at Heather with a watery smile, one that said goodbye. And it was goodbye, as soon as Jaime had told his parent’s proud of what he’d done, Heather wasn’t allowed out of the house unless she was with her brother or her mother.
When the summer had ebbed away and the school year began Heather heard the rumors. Trisha’s mother had sent her away to some place in Florida to change her to live with her mean aunt, Heather remembered Trisha telling her about the detestable woman and had been terrified for her.
“Jesus.” Johnathan pulled to the side of the road and cut the engine. He looked back into the rear view at his brother and shook his head before Will could take his headphones off.
“Yeah.” Heather laughed sadly. “So thats why I do it. I don’t want them to throw me away.”
I don’t want to be forced to change.
Should have probably started with grammar not being my friend. sorry
Billy Hargrove snores lightly, tosses and turns before he settles and Heather has never been so annoyed in her life at a guy being in her bed. Its not the first time she’s asked a guy to stay over only to watch them slink away down the trellis at her window when the sun begins to rise, knowing that her neighbor across the street will see and gossip. It’ll get back to her mother who will then scold and ground her but thats just what Heather wants, for people to talk. Its bad enough that her mother questions and vets all of her friends, like she’s trying to find the lone lesbian that may corrupt her daughter hiding in the bunch but Heather’s smart enough to surround herself with girls who are nothing but boy crazy and a little loose. So her mother doesn’t approve of her friends but its better than her mother assuming that Heather is sneaking off with girls again.
She lightly shakes Billy’s shoulders and rolls her eyes as she kisses the shell of his ear as he wakes up. She smiles at him, mock sleepily as he sits up and looks at her, a little disoriented at first, a little confused and dustant before his eyes focus and he grins. Its fake, of course it is, he’s so used to sneaking in and out of various girls rooms that he knows how to fake it. Heather hadn’t been planning on sleeping with Billy again, she really wasn’t but her mother was starting to ask questions about Heather’s love life in a way that was anything but passing and Heather knew that she needed a cover.
“Morning already sweetheart?”
“Yeah,” She yawns. “My parents are gonna be up soon. You gotta go.”
She watches him dress, pretends that she likes what she sees and he watches her back and smiles with his mouth but not his eyes. He kisses her forhead and tells her that he’ll see her again soon and climbs out her window.
Heather throws herself back and uses a pillow to scream into she hates her life and the things that she does but she doesn’t exactly hate Billy Hargrove. Thats the werid thing. She’d mentioned it to Johnathan before, how whenever she was with Billy that the sex was of course lacking it wasn’t something that she was into but that somehow she didn’t think Billy liked it much either. It was perfunctory, the way he touched her and kissed her with minimal effort or care, like he wasn’t in the moment with her either and it made Heather wonder why he even bothered if he wasn’t into it.
“Maybe he’s gay.” She says to herself and shrugs. Anyone else might laugh it off but maybe? She’d seen him, the way he acted, the way he overcompensated. He wore his masculinity on his sleeve, his sleaziest half lidded leer on anyone with tits, the way he carried himself around other guys trying to be the biggest and toughest.
The way he teased the pretty boys, always only the pretty ones with aggressive shoving and snarling. That was the only time any emotion hit his eyes, lit them up like blue electric fire and he glared down at them, his tongue wagging, his sharp toothed grin. He never looked so entertained when he was flirting with girls but when he was bullying the pretty boys he looked like he was having the time of his life. Steve Harrington got the worst of it for no apparent reason at all and was the source of Billy’s bullying just because he breathed.
And Steve was the prettiest.
But maybe Heather was over thinking, maybe she was hoping that she wasn’t the only one over compensating for something determined to let the word get around that she liked guys while maybe Billy did the same so that work got around that he liked girls, often.
Heather rolls to her side and decides to stop thinking about Billy Hargrove and sleep. She could bother Johnathan with her inane thoughts on it later.
Nancy Wheeler is pretty even when she’s angry, maybe more so if the glare she shoots at Johnathan and Heather is anything to go by. They hadn’t heard her pulling up in her mothers car and of course Johnathan hadn’t locked his front door so that Heather could have time to run and hide in Will’s room either until Nancy left or shut herself in Johnathan’s room so that she could escape. Here Heather was, laying belly first on Johnathan’s bed, legs crossed behind her as Johnathan sat on the floor in front of her organizing his cassettes. It looked innocent because it was though with any girl with two brain cells and a boyfriend would be angry too, if they saw the town slut laying, however innocently, in their boyfriend’s bed especially if they didn’t know said slut and boyfriend were just friends.
Tyler, the guy Johnathan had been running around with before he and Nancy took up had also been a little weary of Heather and her reputation until he’d caught her with a girl. The college freshman was less than understanding before he’d caught her and even after that he was still weary about her. Maybe had Johnathan been gay and not bisexual he might have been a little less stressed about it but he hadn’t been. Heather wasn’t sorry to see him go but she might be sorry to see Nancy go. Johnathan hadn’t ever been so happy as he was when he was talking about Nancy.
“What the hell?” Nancy starts, her mouth opening a few more times before it clamps shut. “Johnathan?”
“Nothing happened.” He stands, slowly, hands coming up to ward off whatever blow Nancy might throw at him. “Nancy I swear.”
“Are you kidding me right now?” She points at Heather and then back at Johnathan, her blue eyes bright with anger. “Heather Holloway? Really Johnathan? If you were going to mess around with someone behind my back then you could have picked someone, anyone else with a little bit of class!”
Ouch. Heather winces but can’t fault her on it, she’s been around, a lot and often and she was laying in Nancy’s boyfriend’s bed having no idea that Heather and Johnathan were just friends. No one knew.
“Okay,” Heather sits up, a head shake and just tired. “Okay I get it. I know, its me in a guys bed which is something I’m known to do like a lot but you’ve got the wrong idea.”
“I don’t want to hear it.”
“Nancy she’s right nothing happened!”
“And I’m supposed to believe you? I’ve never seen you have a conversation with her. You don’t share any classes? So, what am I supposed to believe?”
Johnathan talked about Nancy a lot, sometimes Heather had to tell him to can it about his perfect girlfriend but most times she let him gush about his happy relationship. He’d been in love with Nancy since their little brother’s had become friends back when they were five, so thirteen years of being in love with the perfect girl and finally starting something was worth Johnathan talking about how great she was.
And now his relationship was falling apart in front of her because the town slut was caught in Nancy’s boyfriend’s bedroom, a guy said slut was never known to talk to. So Heather takes a breath, deep and hard and lets it out slow, her heart pounding as Johnathan begs and Nancy yells.
“I’m a lesbian.” She says loud enough for the fight to stop, Johnathan looks back at her wide eyed and Nancy just stops everything, stops yelling and seems to stop breathing.
Before she laughs.
“Oh thats rich. Am I supposed to believe that?” She shakes her head, eyes watery. “You expect me to believe such a transparent lie?”
“Its the truth.” Heather says. “The only person who ever knew is Johnathan okay. We hang out, like, for a while and nothing happened I swear.”
Heather’s brave to stand directly in front of Nancy, hands out trying to sound as genuine as possible. “I swear Nancy, I swear okay. He did nothing wrong he would never do that with anybody.”
O’Rileys isnt technically a gay bar, its more a dinky dive where people drink, a hole in the wall not a lot of people know of unless they’re looking pretty specifically for something different. Johnathan found it by accident with Tyler and Heather had found it with some older woman she’d met who dragged her inside for some fun. It was two towns over from Hawkins, safe.
Nancy didn’t know where to look, there were men dancing with men, women kissing in dark corners and swaying with the music and giggling as they made their ways to the bathrooms for some fun in the stalls that were hardly ever used for anything other than screwing around.
“You guys come here?” Nancy’s voice was pinched, her face flushed a bit as Heather set a beer in front of her with a lopsided grin. Poor Johnthan sat with his shoulders hunched up, nervous, embarrassed, terrified, Heather had no clue what he was feeling.
“Yeah.” Heather settles in the booth seat across from the couple with a shrug. “We try to get here every weekend, well we did every weekend. Now its whenever we can to blow off some steam. The musics good and they don’t card.”
Nancy looks between them both befor taking her beer and chugging more than half, the bottle slamming on the table when she sets it down, confused. She turns to Johnathan who shrinks back.
“So you come here for the music?”
“Well, I do.” He says pinched, he toys at the label of his beer, tearing the moistened paper, shredding it. “Now.”
“Now? Wait-so you came here to…meet people?”
She doesn’t say guys but its implied and poor Johnathan shrinks back just a bit more, avoiding her piercing gaze. Nancy turns to Heather who shakes her head.
“I can’t tell you. For me I come here to meet women.”
“But Johnthan,” Nancy turns back to him, questioning. “You like guys?”
“Yeah,” He says low.
Nancy looks like she’ll be the one gutted by his answer, Johnthan sees it and his whole form loosens.
“No not just guys. Nancy-“
“So you like both?”
She doesn’t look disgusted, the way that Heather thought she might knowing about the Nancy that Johnathan talks about and the Nancy that she’s seen in school Heather would have bet her lift tit that she wouldn’t be okay with dating a guy who sometimes dates other guys. Nancy looks curious, like it never occurred to her that liking both was an option but now that she knew she wanted to know everything.
“So you’ve dated guys?”
“Have you ever…you know?” She asks with a shrug eyes her more than half empty bottle and thats when Heather takes the hint.
“Let me get you another or…something stronger?”
“Stronger. For the table?”
“You got it.”